Residents of Old Wilmington want new plan for parking deck property

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Water Street Parking Deck and the property it sits on have been hot topics around the city for close to a decade. Now the Residents of Old Wilmington are giving their two cents about the property’s future.

“The deck was built in 1965, and it’s in very poor condition right now, and needs a total overhaul and probably removal and redevelopment,” said Ed Wolverton of Wilmington Downtown Inc.

After sinking money into temporary fixes of the Water Street Parking Deck the City of Wilmington is looking for a long term solution.

“When you look at what’s there now, it’s well past its useful life and it’s ready to move on to something else,” said Wolverton.

In November, the Wilmington City Council hired the consulting firm DFI, which recently recommended that the deck be scrapped in favor of a fifteen story mixed-use tower that would sit higher than the Murchison building.

“Frankly, I’m not thrilled with what they came up with,” said Wilmington City Councilman Kevin O’Grady. “My feeling is that we should be striving to get the best property for our public space.”

Residents of Old Wilmington applauded the city for moving to replace the deck, but they asked the city to stick to the recommendations in its vision 2020 plan for the area to be used as green space such as a park.

“Pieces of downtown are coming together,” said Paul Lawler. “Downtown is a lot nicer place to visit than it was a few years ago and the people who lend money are starting to lend money which means projects can be done. It’s just important to do the right project and not the first one that comes along.”

“We’re trying to keep true to redeveloping that site so that the city can recover the money they have invested in it so that we can build the tax base in the center of the city,” said O’Grady. “We not only haven’t agreed on the project, but we haven’t even seen the financial part. Until we see that we’re not going to be ready to make a decision.”

The city will hold a public meeting March 12 inside the council chambers to get citizen input on what should be done with the property.

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